For almost 5 years, the nonprofit volunteer organization Earthwatch and Starbucks have partnered to offer opportunities for the coffee company’s employees and customers to travel to communities and make a positive impact on the environment.
Last year, both parties raised the bar by entering into a 3-year partnership to send Starbucks customers and employees on an expedition to Coope Terrazu, a coffee cooperative in central Costa Rica. Participants helped local farmers develop tools to implement sustainable farming practices.
Now through May 12, Starbucks customers in the United States and Canada can enter a drawing to win a free 2-week trip: an Earthwatch expedition to Costa Rica. Winners will work alongside local farmers and Earthwatch scientists to collect scientific data from roughly 40 coffee farms in an effort to better understand and develop sustainable farming practices.
“This program is about so much more than winning a free expedition to Costa Rica, but rather to be involved in a program where participants can directly impact the environment and give back in a big way,” says Ed Barker, Earthwatch’s director of corporate partnerships. “Participants are contributing to vital research that ensures long-term success for the farmers whose livelihood depends upon healthy land with a healthy future.”
This year’s expedition will build upon the success of the first field session conducted last summer, during which 12 Starbucks employees and 20 customers collected data on a variety of issues, including the condition of coffee plants, soil quality and shade coverage.
“The data trends we are seeing from the first year of this partnership are phenomenal,” says Dr. Alan Fortescue, Earthwatch’s director of education. “Not only are we making progress in the field research, but also seeing transformations in the behavior of our participants upon their return home. Whether it’s from basic recycling to large lifestyle changes, this program is having a substantial impact on the choices they make.”
Photo courtesy of Earthwatch